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The Chris Matthews Show

News/Business. (2013) Problems President Obama is facing; Republicans and the 2014 midterm elections. New. (CC) (Stereo)




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Benghazi 7, A.p. 3, Mcconnell 3, Obama 2, United States 2, Howard Fineman 2, Mitch Mcconnell 2, Gloria Borger 2, Washington 2, Kasie Hunt 2, Cincinnati 2, U.s. 2, John Brennan 2, Rubio 2, Clinton 1, Boehner 1, Gomez 1, Paul Marco Rubio 1, Brennan 1, Andrea Mitchell 1,
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  NBC    The Chris Matthews Show    News/Business.  (2013) Problems President Obama is  
   facing; Republicans and the 2014 midterm elections. New. (CC)...  

    May 19, 2013
    4:30 - 5:01pm PDT  

>> this is "the chris matthews show." >> ask not what your country can do for you. >> tear down this wall. >> i can hear you. >> the time for change has come! chris: the taxman cometh. the fact that president obama doesn't know these i.r.s. people does him no good. the u.s. government serves the people and he is the one in charge. when the cincinnati office of the i.r.s. goes rogue, it's his job to show who is boss. why didn't he jump on it. taking charge. this president and his democrat alies need to show they own the i.r.s. story. and finally, told you so. the writers said again and again the government is no good.
does this ineptitude from targeting the tea party to targeting the "associated press" cause for mitch mcconnell to grab control of the senate. i'm chris matthews. th us today, howard fineman, gloria borger, hunt hunt and -- kasie hunt, david ignatius. they may have resonated out in the country this week, passive, leading from behind. the opponents have ramped it up to challenge the president's very integrity. here is the republican chairman of the house ways and means committee on friday charging a white house culture of cover-ups. >> it seems like the truth is hidden from the american people just long enough to make it through an election. the american people have a right to the truth, to a government that delivers the facts, good or bad, no matter what. president obama promised to be different and to deliver a better government, the most transparent in history. >> and democrat charlie rangel
of new york defending the white house in watergate era language. >> how did this happen? who was responsible for it? how far does this cancer go? how quickly can we cut it out? chris: howard, that's john dean language, cancer on the presidency. strong words. i'm not sure he intended to go that far. he did. has the president begun to get control of this baby or is he still leading from behind waiting to read things in the paper? >> what is at issue is not just the obama presidency, it's the whole idea for government for which obama stands. government can have a positive role in people's lives. instead of having that as a symbol, instead of saying obama care which the president defends and a lot of people like, or medicare and social security, you have a model an intrusive an unfair political internal revenue service that goes to the very heart of the conservative argument against obama and against government. >> i agree with that.
this is an extreme situation, on the one hand the president seems out of control. he hears about things in the newspaper, the i.r.s. situation, the f.b.i. investigation, the "associated press." he hears about it and says so. the other part is the government seems to be getting in our face. >> you elected in president obama somebody who believes in a larger role for government. i mean, that is the opposite of the tea party. chris: why doesn't he want to run the government? >> that's a very good question. because i think this is a president who has disdane for the political side of the job, but he likes the intellectual side of the job. chris: what about the executive side of the job? >> part of that executive side of the job i would argue would not be just having a chairman offensive for the last couple of months, but actually getting to know the person he has to work with for the last years. chris: i agree with everything i have heard so far. david, credibility, the inspector general has investigated the i.r.s. office especially some cincinnati. they say there was no political
motivation found out there. does the country believe that? do you believe that? >> well, on that i'm going to without judgment until i know more, to be honest. chris: singling out the right-wing groups, does it in itself suggest or argue for political prejudice? >> deeply troubling that people put in search terms like patriot or we the people. you do have to remember, back in the beginning of 2010 when this started, the citizens united decision had completely upended the rules for campaign finance. you had people scrambling to form groups that would be in part to fund money and to fund campaigns. the i.r.s. has a problem, which groups deserve tax exempt status and which don't. >> a lot. >> a lot, that's true, more from conservative groups than liberal groups. was somebody trying to shorten that job by putting in search terms and made a mistake? we don't know.
chris: here is what we know now. we're getting this in rolling disclosure which is the worst way for the government to learn. there was an i.r.s. investigation of themselves months ago. there was an investigation which must have summed up its workweeks ago. it was leaked last week and the white house was informed of that sometime in april. all of this investigation and my question is, does any believe this president is running the show? >> that's a rhetorical question. >> some some ways he is not worried about press freedom seeing he gets so much press ion from information. this could have really energized them and made a real difference for the tea party groups. chris: the president needing a strong hand on managing things. we're looking at the history of the show seeing how much has
changed in 11 years. look at this parallel, w's second term, howard, you were on the show with andrea mitchell when bush's white house was trying to push immigration but logs. ed about the phone order americans phone records are in government hands. howard, low poll numbers, he is on television monday night to talk about immigration and save his bill. this phone list, everybody has the phone numbers, who is on the phone with him and big brother's hands. how bad is it? >> the president has lost one thing he had going for him, which was his reputation for honesty, which he husbanded carefully. >> a jim baker who did it for ronald reagan who helped for bush 41. chris: old pictures always look better, isn't that funny.
i have been making the same argument. for the president to be chief executive, which is one of the hats he carries, he is responsible for every agency and what they do. they need an enforcement mechanism, a c.e.o., c.o.o. someone under the man or woman who was is the enforcer. they have the power to hire and fire and crack that whip. he doesn't want a person like that. >> i don't think he has had innocent like that, he would rather set the tone, set the vision than pay attention to the details of government. the president has never been a hands-on administrator in that kind of way. right now he has a situation where there is no one around him who really has the authority to strike fear into the hearts of the bureaucracy throughout the city. >> well, he did have rahm emanuel as his chief of staff, political, politicalo. chris: did they have the power from the day they took office to hire or fire?
>> no. chris: who did? >> the president of the united states. >> that's precisely what the president finally did this week. he fired the acting chief of the i.r.s. i thought that was a moment in which he addressed his real problem, which is not a trust gap, it's a power gap. people see him as not able to run the government and manager -- manage it. when he fired that guy, he looked presidential. chris: let's talk about benghazi. did the white house play a role in downplaying the role of terrorism right before the election? >> i think the answer broadly is yes. i can remember as a reporter calling various agencies trying to get people to talk about the possibility that al qaeda was adopting new tactics, was trying to insert itself in fights in north africa as in benghazi and libya and kind of getting, oh, we're not sure about that. i think the answer is yes. they wanted this to go away. they were delighted when romney stepped his foot in the debate when he asked about the benghazi
question. phew, we got past that one. in terms of stepping up and the funny thing about the talking points is, they began full of information. and after 24 hours of being prechewed, whittled down by all of these different people -- chris: sounded like mr. miller from the i.r.s. >> there was nothing left. chris: let me talk about something that a lot of people have a hard time getting their hooks in. as a a.p. reporter in the past, you know the huge importance of a.p., everybody relies on a.p. what is the significance and what is going on here? why did the government go after these logs of information about who a.p. reporters have been talking to? >> it's problematic. they took the mainline numbers. i would have sources call me on those main numbers. it gets routed straight to my phone. they didn't just capture the particular reporters who are working on a story about a leak that they were concerned about. the a.p. is, of course, a
nonprofit organization and it is relied on by everyone else in the media. when you're considering the implications of that, going after the a.p. in particular is in some ways more probable matic than going after some other institution. the a.p. has pointed out aggressively that the big problem with this is how broad and sweeping it was. chris: why did they do the big sweep? >> the initial republican desire was to catch the white house in revealing this secret that our closest ally had an agent inside al qaeda and yemen. john brennan in a background conference call with journalists had let this out. it turned out that wasn't where the information came from. john brennan was doing this because of the a.p.'s reporting, pounding on the white house, and they were terrified that this agent in place would be compromised, may be killed. that was what was going on. this began really as an attempt
on the white house. chris: let me get this straight so people understand this. the attorney general had no real idea where the leak went to. they had to go that broad. >> in the beginning to this day, i don't think the prosecutor know who's leaked the information. in the beginning this was a search for a political leaker who had let the information out and they thought it was brennan. >> they kept it secret. this is another big issue for your former employer here, which is that there was this huge subpoena, very broad and they only discovered it after the fact. they revealed it after the fact. chris: so many problems, but because of the i.r.s. issues, references to wear gate have surfaced several places this week. here is one. >> a lot of american adults not so fondly remember the government was found looking into the phone calls of reporters and using the i.r.s. for political purposes, it was the nixon era. chris: if you listen to richard
nixon's oval office tapes, you hear clear-cut presidential use in the case of the i.r.s. chris: the color of george shultz's eyes. barbara walters had the first interview and got this revelation. >> in the last few seconds, time for yes or no, are you sorry you didn't burn the tapes? >> you know, interestingly enough, everybody in europe that
i talked to said why didn't you burn the tapes? and the answer is, i probably should have. chris: and when we come back, how will or should the republicans make hay from all of the bam troubles? will they retake the u.s. sena
>> the one advice i give to republicans is stop calling it a huge scandal and stop saying it's watergate, stop saying it's iran contra, let the facts speak for themselves. it feeds the narrative of the other side and it's only a political event. it is not. just be quiet and present the facts. chris: that was conservative columnist warning republicans not to overplay benghazi.
the republican national committee isn't listening, watch. >> change has come to america. >> government is responsible, hold it accountable. for a long time now there has been too much secrecy. i will also hold myself as president to a new standard. >> president obama is pending off incoming fire on several fronts. >> the white house has had a very tough last several days. >> on the a.p., the i.r.s. and benghazi, a tough, tough week. >> it goes back to the issue when the president took office was this was going to be the most transparent administration we have ever seen. chris: two different versions of the dream. one says be careful, benghazi, it's not watergate yet and then the r.n.c. just going whole hog, this is our baby. >> yes, the republicans on the hill are sort of in the position of saying we can't believe how
much stuff we've got here, but we got to be really careful. so they told the "new york times" and everybody, don't worry, we know we have to be careful. they're not going to be careful. they're not going to be careful. chris: kasie, the weird situation, the president looks like he doesn't have control over it. the government looks bigger and scarier than ever. both help republicans. >> true, the one thing you have to remember about republicans, the party doesn't have one extremely strong leader right now. mcconnell and boehner are on the hill trying to control a herd of cats who are trying to pound on it. michele bachmann was heeding advice. she wouldn't go so far to say it wasn't an impeachable offense. chris: she showed restraint. >> they're so restrained, some of the republicans, they look like little boys in grown-up suits who are kind of trying, they're sort of wiggling around and on their best manners.
chris: let me ask you about mitch mcconnell. it seems he won't win any popularity contests, not a likable personality. he can say i can be a tough customer and not very pleasant. we need someone to look out for them, i'm your guy. >> i spoke to his campaign manager the other day. there was a happy man. not only does mcconnell not have a democratic opponent yet, what mcconnell was really worried about was a primary challenge from the tea party. now he puts on the tea party anti-government hat himself. he says i'm going to use all of my experience in washington to fight your fight, tea party people. chris: like a schoolyard kid, the kid is on the cement, do you pound him or let him up? the republicans have their chance. they better take it while they got it. >> seizing the facts is probably the best way to go forward. chris: you don't like this rough play? >> no, it hasn't worked for the republicans. the republicans do have to be
careful. their image of hyperpartisan aggressive, bang, bang, bang. the public it's clear doesn't like it. >> words in kentucky -- chris: i think the party that has the bad week, the united states government. the people don't like the government, they vote republican. maybe that's a fac [ wind howling ] [ female announcer ] it balances you...
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chris: howard, tell me something i don't know. >> student loans are a big political issue. the government is making tons of money, $50 billion according to the huffing post in cash off of students. we're burdening a whole generation. a bill is moving through congress to try to lighten the load. it's important and i bet it will pass. chris: i paid 3%. >> they're using the profits of the interest rates they're charging kids for the loans to help shrink the national deficit by $50 billion a year. some of that money has to be put back into that generation or they're burdened for the rest of their lives. >> top senate dreams who are conspiring to keep control of the senate got together recently and were looking at sort of speaking and who is going to come out and speak in the midterm. number one person, despite benghazi, of course, the number one person requested is none other than hillary clinton.
one of these democrats said to e, well, iowa, new hampshire would be a perfect time for her to come out. chris: the poll this week, she has a three-point lead on governor cristy, that's it. >> the rand paul/marco rubio dynamic is already defining the republican 2016 campaign. you can see it in the money, just came out that rand raised considerably less in the first quarter than rubio's collective p.a.c.s did. rand is going out to california soon to raise money and meet with folks in silicon valley. rubio is planning a fundraiser with gomez. who can raise the most in 2014. chris: are they going for president? >> all signs point to yes. >> so much bad news this last week, here is some good. our secretary of state john kerry is making some progress in quiet back channel behind the
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and know you're not on your own. so you can get the reloadable card that keeps up with you. chase liquid. so you can. chris: welcome back. attorney general eric holder has been under fire over the "associated press" ceased phone lists. he is one of the original cabinet appointments. the president says he sticks by him. does holder have a solid grip on his job? howard. >> he has it as long as he is in charge of the investigation of the i.r.s. matter. he certainly can't be fired. >> i don't think eric holder intended to stay for the entire second term. i think his departure, however, holder. imed by eric
>> the two of them got into it the other day, but keep in mind, the president has particularly close relationship with eric holder and he has shown in the past a willingness to really step out and personally defend people that he is close to. chris: i'm with you. >> it was widely thought in the legal community that holder would leave after the first term. he is not highly respected among top lawyers in washington. i think the president wants him in that job. as long as the president says i need you there, he is going to stay. chris: i agree with that point. howard fineman, gloria borger, kasie hunt, david ignatius and that's the show. ♪ alright, let's go.
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we have a winner. bay area store sells a powerball ticket worth $2 million. now the waiting game finding out who holds the lucky ticket. >> the report of the latest discovery that could become a problem on the bay bridge. >> we'll recap a week of controversien ty ein the nation capital. how the nation feels about president obama in a poll. >> announcer: nbc bay area news starts now. >> good evening, i'm terry mcsweeney. >> i am diane dwyer. the south bay is a buzz after lottery officials announce a powerball ticket sold in san jose had five winning numbers in the draw. the ticket holder did miss powerball. the person will walk a